OPINION – The Current State of Global Shipping Affairs

If you have been importing into Australia in the last six months you would have been witnessing a disturbing trend.

Sky high freight rates that are continuing to climb – coupled with lack of equipment issues, unreliable schedules and huge landside delays is causing major frustration. Why are these issues happening now? One of the main reasons of the equipment shortage is the extreme imbalance of import cargo versus exports – COVID also plays a huge part also with many countries still in lockdown and not able to return empty containers. Vessel schedules are off due to port congestion – this creates a knock on effect to each and every voyage.

Experts are calling this situation ‘black swan’ (is a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise, has a major effect, and is often inappropriately rationalised after the fact with the benefit of hindsight) – and it’s not just Australians that are feeling the push, this has been a global issue ever since COVID-19 hit.

EES Director Brian Hack, along with several industry bodies (Freight & Trade Alliance and Western Australia Port Operations Task Force WAPOTF) have been pushing for the Australian Media to push the issue on how global shipping is effecting Australians and the less-than-ideal situation that importers, along with exporters, are currently facing in the lead-up to Christmas. The big media companies are yet to pick-up this story.

The international shipping industry is responsible for moving over ninety percent of the world’s trade and while it may not bring you any comfort to know that you are not alone in feeling the pain and frustration that 2020 shipping is causing, not one person worldwide is immune to these issues.

Take a look at this informative video which explains some of the current crisis

The trans-pacific trade (China to US) has seen rates hit a new high, with exporters from the US now not being able to obtain bookings as shipping lines are prioritising the return of empty containers.

Previous lost cost Intra-Asia rates have now skyrocketed.

We’ve also complied some other industry articles that may be of benefit to read through: